This week saw the first ants in orbit. They travelled on a commercial Cygnus craft and docked with the orbiting International Space Station. The ant farm safely made its way to the six astronaughts eagerly awaiting their arrival. Cygnus was an unpiloted flight operated by Orbital Sciences of Dulles. As well as transporting the first ants into space, Cygnus was on a resupply mission to the station. The starring ants are part of a science project “Ants in Space”, a school idea that will let children on the ground monitor a video feed of an ant colony in orbit to determine how the insects’ behaviour changes in microgravity. The ants representative was unable to comment on how long the ants are likely to remain in space. Over the next five weeks 1400kg of gear will be unloaded, the craft will then be restocked with trash and will then be released to burn up in the Earth’s atmosphere.
You heard it first, Pest Purge science officer, Richard Lee keeping you up to date with the latest breakthroughs on Earth and in Space.